QB Quandary In Quebec

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Believe it or not but football is almost upon us. Canadian Football that is. Training camp opens in a couple of days and a lot of eyes are on the Montreal Alouettes. The main reason is because they traded for the rights for Vernon Adams to add to the other seven that are currently on the roster. That’s a quarterback competition if there ever was one.

Let’s make no mistake, Vernon Adams is tailor made for the CFL. It’s a wide open game but it takes some getting use to. Unlimited motion, three downs, 12 men a side and the field is significantly bigger. Some QB’s that should transition well fail miserably. So it is not a given that Adams will walk in and be anointed the starter. He better hope to just make team.

The Al’s have had QB issues ever since future Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo retired. Calvillo is now the offensive coordinator and Head Coach/General Manager Jim Popp appears to be grooming him to be the Al’s headman down the line.

Al's QB

Calvillo will have to devote time to seven other QB’s besides Adams. From former Tennessee signal caller Jonathan Crompton, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and under-appreciated CFL vet Kevin Glenn among others. While CFL teams are known for having to use least two QB’s during a season, eight QB’s on a roster is lot no matter what league you are in.

Kevin Glenn MontrealIt would appear that Glenn would be the opening day starter. He is seventh all time in passing which puts him in front of Hall of Famer’s Doug Flutie, Matt Dunigan and Tracy Ham. Glenn also has 255 career TD’s which puts him 10th on the all time list.

Adams has the tools to be a very successful CFL quarterback but he has his work cut out for him. He would have been better served staying in Vancouver and signing with the BC Lions or even getting shipped off to the Toronto Argonauts because both teams have seen their veteran QB’s fail to stay healthy. Either way let’s see what Adams can do in his third offensive system in as many years.

Transfer U

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


We have covered the topic of graduate transfers before but a new crop has emerged and it raises new and different questions.

Dakota PrukopDakota Prukop was the first “name” quarterback to make a move. Like Vernon Adams, Prukop, is moving up from the FCS level (Big Sky Conference as well) to Oregon. Prukop turned down Alabama and Texas in the process.

This is the second year in a row that an FCS quarterback is moving into the quarterback role at Oregon. This begs the question, has Oregon been unable to recruit a young quarterback? Do they really look at their quarterback recruits and think, ‘man, we’re toast if we don’t get a transfer in here’ ? The Oregon coaching staff should do a better job of identifying, recruiting and developing a quarterback because there is no way that crossing your fingers and hoping a graduate transfer QB just decides to go to Eugene.

Texas A&M lost two quarterbacks….in a week! Top recruits Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray both decided to transfer away from College Station. Add that to Kenny Hill, who transferred last year, and that makes three top QB’s who have left the Aggies in the last two years. Unlike the graduate transfer Prukop, Allen and Murray will have to sit out a year just like Hill is currently doing at TCU.

Trevor KnightFormer Oklahoma quarterback (and Sugar Bowl MVP) Trevor Knight has decided to leave Sooner nation behind. Knight started plenty of games for the Sooners but his inconsistent play led to walk-on transfer (and eventual Heisman contender) Baker Mayfield getting the starting nod. Funny thing is, Knight might walk into a starting role at A&M because Hill, Allen and Murray decided to leave.

Patrick TowlesOther graduate transfers this off season include former Kentucky signal-caller Patrick Towles who is moving onto Boston College and former Georgia backup Faton Bauta who will take his skills to Colorado State. Both are eligible to play immediately for their new schools.

Florida’s Will Grier is another quarterback who like Allen and Murray, will have to wait to play. He is under NCAA suspension for essentially PED use and regardless of where he goes, he will still have to serve his suspension.

Earlier this year in the column ‘College Football Free Agency’ that we didn’t think graduate transfers was a trend. We were right, it’s not a trend….it’s a full blown movement!

Players, in particularly quarterbacks, are making it clear that if they don’t feel their job is safe or have the opportunity to move to a bigger and better program then they will jump at the chance.

Sounds just like the working world doesn’t it?

On the other hand, while quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Vernon Adams have found success, there are plenty who have failed to impress. As we alluded to in the post ‘Transfer Dreams’, just because you started somewhere else doesn’t mean you will succeed (much less start) at another school.

In other words, past performance isn’t indicative of future success.

Schools would be better served by going the parallel route: recruit and develop a quarterback and if a graduate transfer drops in your lap then all the better. Either way you should come out on top. Meanwhile, don’t think for a minute that we’ve seen the end of the graduate transfers.

College Football Recap Week 1

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The first full weekend of College Football is in the books (almost) and there are some big takeaways and moments we should visit again and again.

Upset City

Several schools from the Power 5 conferences lost their opener. Washington State, Kansas lost to FCS schools along with non Power 5 school Wyoming (Portland State, South Dakota State and North Dakota respectively). Colorado, Vanderbilt and Penn State lost to non Power 5 schools.

Penn State’s loss to Temple falls into the historic column. It’s the first time Temple has beaten Penn State since 1941 (39 games) and Penn State gave up 10 sacks. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when Penn State goes into Columbus in October? Yikes.

Other upsets included BYU beating Nebraska on a last second hail-mary in Lincoln. Northwestern manhandled #21 Stanford in what may be the biggest surprise win of the weekend.

 

Just The Hits

The fact of the matter is that football is a violent sport. It’s part of the reason why we enjoy it. One of those big hits happened on Friday night at Montana State linebacker Mac Bignell leveled Fort Lewis running back PJ Hall.

https://twitter.com/jackmurrey/status/639678894887469056

South Dakota State quarterback Zack Lujan got drilled on a pass play. In fact he got hit so hard his helmet went rolling down the field.

The best may have been the phantom one. Bowling Green defensive lineman Mike Minns lost his shoe and when he realized that he couldn’t get to the sideline before Tennessee would snap the ball, he just fell down and played dead. Classic.

 

The Takeaways

Some people had Arizona State as their dark-horse College Football Playoff team. The odds of that happening now are a little darker as they were beaten by Texas A&M. The man of the hour was A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. He was unblockable and finished with three sacks and eight tackles.

Injuries were big in week one. Arizona loses All Pac 12 linebacker Scooby Wright III to a knee injury but it sounds like he could be back in a month. BYU lost QB Taysom Hill for the season….again. Oregon was looking real good offensively until new QB Vernon Adams took what looked like a cheap shot to the head. He might have a concussion but was on the sidelines at the end of the game. Oregon will need him healthy with a trip to Michigan State looming next week.

College Football Free Agency

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Vernon Adams. It’s ok if you have never heard of him but he is the one causing a major ruckus on the college football landscape. Not because of what he has done the past three seasons at Eastern Washington but because he’s leaving there to play his final season at Oregon.

Vernon Adams

Adams is a 22 year old from Pasadena, CA. He started at quarterback for three years at Eastern Washington but since he is graduating in May he is taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows him to transfer without having to sit out a year. While Eastern Washington is letting him go they are making it very clear that they do not like the rule. They don’t like it so much that they are barring Adams from using the football facility or working out with his former teammates while he finishes up his degree.

Other coaches at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level are not happy with what this could mean for the future.  Montana State coach Rob Ash is among those speaking out against the rule because it makes the FCS seem like a developmental league. The fear is that this could start a trend where fifth year FCS players leave for the big schools like Oregon or a Michigan who get to reap the rewards of a veteran collegiate player.

Adams on the move

It’s not just the FCS that has to worry. Ohio State head coach expressed his unhappiness with certain members of the media trying to entice Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller to transfer. Nor is transferring a guaranteeing you a starting spot. Just ask Jake Coker who transferred from Florida State to Alabama this past summer.

Transfers are nothing new to collegiate athletics. Players have been doing it for years and it mostly goes unnoticed. When it comes to quarterbacks though, it tends to get a lot attention. Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson left North Carolina State for Wisconsin and promptly led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl. While Wilson’s case was unique (he was essentially told by the NC State coaching staff that future pro Mike Glennon was going to play over him) it now seems that everyone is looking for an experienced QB to step in and lead the team to the promised land. With all of the pressure put on coaches nowadays can you blame them for looking for an experienced QB to step in?

Players always have their reasons for transferring. It’s not fair to Eastern Washington that Adams is transferring but neither would be holding him back because you don’t want him to leave. In the business world there are ‘non competes’ and there is a similar thing in college football too where a coach will put restrictions on where a player can transfer. Eastern Washington could have done this since they play Oregon the first week of the season but it would have been a bad PR move.

Is Adams setting a trend for FCS players? Probably not because too many things have to fall into place for something like this to happen. Are you going to see more situations like this? Sure but it’s no sure fire way to win championships. Remember, Russell Wilson may have led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl but they ended up losing to Oregon.